Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on December 3, 2011. Enjoy!
Written by Phoenix Morgaine of Texas
Several years ago I worked as a senior rehabilitator for a wild bird rescue organization. The local humane society didn’t have a bird rescue program, so they called us whenever wild birds were turned in by the public.
One night I received a call from the shelter’s receiving department. The clerk was so angry she was cussing and crying at the same time. “I know you don’t ususally take in pet birds, but this one is so sweet…and I know if I check her into the system, she’ll be euthanized because her condition is sooo bad. Will you please come and get her?”
Later, when I walked in the door of the shelter, I asked the clerk, “Where is she?” She pointed to the top of the file cabinet where she’d placed a computer paper box. Just as I looked up, the baldest, filthiest, most bedraggled looking cockatoo popped her head up over the rim of the box, looked at me and said “Eee-Yah!” As soon as I put my hand out, she stepped onto my finger and started rubbing her cheek against my chest.
She Came in the Way So Many Surrendered Pets Do
The clerk explained that two guys came in to say they’d found a parrot walking down the street. From their behavior, she felt they were making the story up. (Many people who turn animals in to a shelter will do this, thinking it makes them look better than admitting culpability.) The clerk finally lost her patience and told the guys, “Just bring me the bird!” Her suspicions were confirmed when one of the guys yelled out the door, “Dad, bring in your bird!”
When I got the cockatoo home, I was able to do a cursory examination. She had no feathers on her torso, back or legs and the feathers she did have were ragged and brittle. Her left wing had been broken for at least a week and was gangrenous. She would never fly again. Finally and worst of all, she had a 2″ wide scab around her entire torso that was at least 1/2″ thick. It was late at night, so I thought she could use a good meal and a good nights’ sleep. She downed half a mango in 5 minutes and was asleep on her feet in 10!
Organic Honey Helps the Healing Process
Next day I started her on a round of antibiotics and put her wing in a clay pack. The wound on her torso was “painted” 2 times a day with organic honey. Our vet estimated her to be about 25 years old. The torso wound was self-mutilation as a result of boredom. Cockatoos are famous for this behavior if left without affection and interaction with their people. When we were in our bird room, I had to keep the doors to the cages of my doves and pigeons secured, as she would slide the doors open and raid their seed! Ah ha! That’s what she’d been fed for who knows how long.
Crying Herself To Sleep
For the first year of our lives together, we spent many nights sitting up together. You see, Tilly Boom Boom had nightmares and would cry herself to sleep as I held her and she gnawed on a fold of my tee-shirt.
Three years later (yes, that’s how long it’s taken) Ms. Tilly Boom Boom is growing her feathers back and the wound around her torso is healing. She is tenacious and courageous and in spite of the years of neglect she’d endured, is a sweet and loving soul. She rarely has nightmares now and is best buddies with ChaCha, the Mexican Red-Headed Amazon. However, she will kick the cats if they get too close.
-Story provided by The Great Animal Rescue Chase , home of the everyday hero.
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